top things to do in Kos Greece and where to stay
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Top things to do in Kos Greece and Where to Stay – Kos Travel Guide

This Kos travel guide has the top things to do in Kos, where to stay, the best bars and restaurants, and top tips to make the most of your visit.

There is something to suit everyone in Kos, from relaxing beach resorts on the north coast to buzzing towns on the south coast, as well as its cosmopolitan capital, Kos Town. I visited Kos many years ago and would love to return. I recall the many great things to do in Kos and we even hopped across to Turkey for the day – Bodrum is just a 30 minute ferry ride away.

Kaitlin AKA @holidayhun visited recently so I asked her to help me write this Kos travel guide. Kaitlin has listed the best hotel and restaurant recommendations, as well as the top things to see in Kos below.

About Kos

yacht in the water in Kos, Greece

Kos in Greece is the second most popular island of the Dodecanese islands after its neighbouring island Rhodes. Famous for its beaches, the island is also home to many ancient ruins, and is a Mecca for cyclists. Kos is just 45 x 11 kilometres, so it is easy to visit most of the highlights during one trip.

Top things to do in Kos

Whether you want to explore the historic sites, people watch in Kos Town, or use it as a base to go island hopping in Greece, check out the top things to do in Kos and get planning.

1. Explore Kos Town

Kos Town, Greece
Image by Evgeny Kulakov from Pixabay

From the old cobbled streets to the bustling harbour, you cannot miss Kos town on your holiday. The old quarter is my favourite with some stunning historic buildings, market stalls and a busy but beautiful town square.

It has a great cycle path around the harbour, so if you don’t feel like walking, rent a bike and enjoy the sights. The beautiful Nerantzia Castle is also worth a visit, it is situated right on the marina you wont miss it.

The sophisticated marina is at the heart of this town, which is a great place to people watch and enjoy some al fresco dining.

Kos town also has a sandy beach which is unusual for a Greek town, so it is the perfect place to stay if you like a city and beach combo. If you are taking the kids, there is a tourist train that carries the little legs around the town to see all the sights – it costs less than €10 and takes up to an hour.

Kos town can be unusually quiet during the day time, as everyone is sunbathing, but it can get very busy in the evening time. However, I believe you have to visit Kos Town at night when town truly comes alive.

Top Tip: Pre book a restaurant in the old town square and soak up the atmosphere. I can recommend Ambrosia restaurant, and ask for a seat on the balcony.

2. Go island hopping

Kalymnos is one of the Greece islands that can be reached on a day trip from Kos
Kalymnos Island – Photo by Mark, Unsplash

Take the 3 island cruise from Kos and visit three beautiful Greek islands Kalymnos, Plati and Pserimos. A day full of swimming and exploring nearby islands – what more could you want?

This is one of the top day trips from Kos, and there are loads of boat trips to choose from including family cruises, adult-only trips or private trips – I have linked the most popular below or you can even hire you own boat!

Most of the tours are full day and will provide lunch. There are plenty of swim stops and spare time to explore the islands.

Top Tip: Bring snacks, sea sickness tablets and sun cream!

3. Catch the sunset at the stunning village of Zia

church in Zia, Kos

No trip to Kos is complete without a visit to the beautiful inland village of Zia. It lies at the base of Mount Dikaios, the highest mountain of Kos, and boasts amazing views for the perfect sunset. It is best to book a tour in advance as it gets super busy especially in high summer months.

Top Tip: Pre book a restaurant to avoid queuing, especially in high season. Fantasia restaurant is highly rated with great food and Greek entertainment.

See more here

4. Take the Ferry to Bodrum from Kos

Bodrum, Turkey, is reachable by 30 minute ferry from Kos

Why visit one country, when you can visit two? The cosmopolitan town of Bodrum is located on Turkey’s southern Aegean coast and is only a 30 minute ferry ride from Kos.

Depending on the time of year, there are usually a choice of ferry crossings each day. Whether you want to shop till you drop at a Turkish market, eat some authentic food or visit the famous windmills, the Kos to Bodrum day trip is one that everyone will enjoy.

Top Tip: Don’t forget your passport!

See more here

5. Walk in ancient footsteps at Asklepieion

Asklepieion is one of Greece’s longest surviving archaeological sites. It dates back to the 3rd century BC and was built to honour the God of health and medicine, Asklepios.

The physicians of this hospital were also priests and a sanctuary was available for everyone who wanted to pray. This is also where Hippocrates founded his school and taught medicine. It is located just 4km from Kos Town so is easily reached by taxi or bicycle.

Top Tip: Asklepieion is free to enter on certain days so plan your visit accordingly.

6. Visit Kos sandy beaches

Tigaki beach is one of the best beaches in Kos

Take the local bus or rent a car and explore the the best beaches in Kos. Tigaki beach, (also called Tingaki), Exotic beach and Paradise beach are some of the best on the island, but there are many more hidden coves and beautiful beaches just waiting to be explored.

If you are looking to try some water sports, head to Paradise beach to try parasailing or paddle boarding, you can also hire jet skis there.

7. Explore the ancient Roman Odeon of Kos

Roman Odeon, Kos

The ancient Odeon of Kos was built by the Romans around the 2nd century. It was discovered in the early 20th century along with the Gymnasium and the Roman baths. This Auditorium is a must see, it is one of the free things to do in Kos and is located in the heart of Kos Town.

It was originally built in the 2nd century and the entrance which is formed by Cypress trees still holds an air of grandeur. The first nine rows of seats are still the original marble seats that were occupied by the important citizens of the time.

Top Tip – Go early or later in the afternoon to avoid crowds and have a more immersive experience.

8. Soak in thermal springs at Agios Fokas Beach

the hot springs at Therma Beach is one of the top things to do in Kos

Treat yourself to a dip in the hot springs of Therma Beach at Agios Fokas, located on the east coast of Kos. The seawater keeps the thermal pool a perfect temperature to swim in. Relax and enjoy views of distant islands while the healing water works its magic. This is a unique thing to do in Kos and it’s free of charge!

Top Tip: Agios Fokas beach is also a great spot for sunset views, so try to visit later in the day.

8. Venture up a volcano on Nisyros Island

visit the volanic island of Nisyros is one of the top things to do in Kos
Nisyros Island – Image by Nicolas Lysandrou, Unsplash

A day trip to the volcanic island of Nisyros is a must do in Kos for anyone looking for adventure. Drive through the rocky landscape up to the volcano edge and enjoy amazing sea views to the neighbouring islands.

The Island of Kos is part of one of the biggest volcano bowls in Europe. The explosion of the Kos volcano was much larger than the one that happened at Santorini in Minoan times, and you can still find thick layers of pumice and volcanic rocks on the western part of Kos – the Kefalos peninsula is covered with huge volcanic domes.

See more here

10. Take a Jeep Safari Full Island Tour

boats in Kos Greece

Short on time and want to see as much as possible? Book an entire island tour of Kos and see most of the highlights on one trip. This a 4×4 jeep safari is one of the top things to do in Kos.

Find Kos hidden gems, get unique panoramic views, taste traditional local flavours, and go off road to Mount Dikaios. On this Kos island tour you will discover hidden chapels in the forest and enjoy the most scenic views of the islands of Nisiros, Kalimnos, Pserimos as well as the Turkish resort of Bodrum.

See more here

How to get to Kos

Aer Lingus and Ryanair fly to Kos from Dublin airport

Aer Lingus and Ryanair fly twice weekly from Dublin airport during the summer months, and TUI operate a weekly service on Tuesday from Dublin Airport from mid May until early September.

Where to stay on the island of Kos

From family apartments in Kos to luxury adult only hotels, I’ve got hotels, all inclusive resorts and self catering apartments to suit all tastes and budgets.

1. Mayflower Apartments, Tigaki

Mayflower apartments, Tigaki, Kos

A firm favourite with 5/5 TripAdvisor reviews, the Mayflower consistently receive great feedback and offer brilliant local Greek hospitality. Located just outside Tigaki (also called Tingaki), the family run apartments are basic but a super choice for a self catering holiday in Kos.

There are three room types to choose from – studios, 1 and 2 bedroom apartments. It’s a 10-minute walk to shops and tavernas, and Tingaki’s sandy beach is a 20-minute walk away.

See more here

2. TUI SUNEO Niriides Beach, Psalidi

Nirides Beach Kos

This budget friendly all inclusive hotel is a personal recommendation of Kaitlin, she stayed in this hotel in 2021. Located just outside Kos town in a quiet resort called Psalidi, you can reach the town by foot, bike or taxi. Boasting four pools with day and night time entertainment for all the family it is a great value choice in Kos.

The hotel has been newly renovated, has a fresh feel at the pool area, and now boasts modern rooms. The hotel is surrounded by a beautiful garden and you can also find a small church hidden here.

See more here

3. Diamond Boutique Hotel, Kos Town

Diamond Boutique Hotel in Kos Town

Boasting excellent TripAdvisor reviews, this gorgeous 4 star boutique hotel in Kos is located just 10 minutes walk from the beach and Kos Town.

On site you can find an a la carte restaurant serving Greek cuisine, and a bar with a terrace and pool / snack bar.

This hotel can be booked independently or as part of a package holiday. I have linked both options here:

View TUI Love Holidays Hotel Only

4. Utopia Blu Hotel, Tigaki

Utopia Blu Hotel in Kos has swim up rooms which are ideal for adult holidays in Kos

Are you looking for a relaxing getaway in Kos? Located in Tigaki on the islands northern coast, this hotel should tick all boxes. Tucked in behind a beautiful sandy beach and within walking distance to bars, restaurants and shops, it offers the best of both worlds. The nightlife low-key here, but if ever you want more action, Kos Town is about a 15 minute drive away.

The hotel offers plenty of room options including the popular swim up rooms. They also have an adults only area, three restaurants, five bars and two pools.

This hotel can be booked independently or as part of a package holiday. I have linked both options here:

View TUI

Hotel Only

Best Family Resorts in Kos

5. Mitsis Family Village Beach Hotel Kos, Kardamena

Mitsis Family Holiday Village is one of the best all inclusive resorts for families in Kos

Located just outside the bustling town of Kardamena this is one of the most popular all inclusive hotels in Kos.

The hotel has everything you could need for a fun filled family holiday including six outdoor pools and fun water slides for both children and adults. Activities include tennis courts, water polo, beach volleyball and football, and the beach is only a short stroll away.

Love Holidays

Hotel Only

6. Blue Lagoon Village, Kefalos

The Blue Lagoon Village offers luxury family holidays in Kos

The Blue Lagoon Village is a superb family complex in Kefalos on the south coast of the island. It is set out like a village and offers two-bedroom family rooms and swim up rooms, as well as private pool suites.

There are five pools including a waterpark with pirate ship and slides for little kids, as well as multi-lane racer slides for older children. Adventure Land is home to a multi-sports court and football pitch, and there is a host of water sports available at the beach. There is a kids club and baby club, with parent and toddler sessions, as well as a kids disco in the evenings.

Read: My Top 20 Picks For Family Holidays in Greece

This hotel can be booked independently or as part of a package holiday. I have linked both options here:

View TUI Love Holidays

7. Holiday Village Atlantica Mikri Poli, Kardamena

Located just outside the bustling town of Kardamena this hotel is a great location for an all inclusive family holiday. This TUI Holiday village is the newest of the bunch so whatever age, the kids are bound to have tonnes of fun.

The hotel has six outdoor pools, an indoor pool and a water park, and the beach is only a short stroll away. Lively Kardamena is nearby, with plenty of bars, shops and restaurants.

This hotel can be booked independently or as part of a package holiday. I have linked both options here:

View TUI Hotel Only

Luxury Hotels in Kos

8. Ikos Aria, Kefalos

Ikos resorts all inclusive arrangement includes mini cooper rental

Ikos Resorts are some of the best all inclusive resorts in the world – so if you like high end luxury hotels you will love it here. Located on the beachfront in Kefalos, this 5 star hotel in Kos is probably the best all inclusive hotel in Kos.

It has nine bars and eight restaurants and the all-inclusive arrangement includes branded spirits in your mini bar, over 300 wine labels, waiter service to your sun lounger, 24 hour room service, and they even give you a car for a day to explore the local attractions in Kos.

The hotel is perfect for families too as they offer a creche (extra charge), kids and teen club. They offer a huge range of activities everyday including mountain biking and canoeing. Its no surprise that this hotel receives outstanding reviews on TripAdvisor and was awarded the Travellers Choice Best of the Best award last year.

Read: The best family resorts in Europe

This hotel can be booked independently or as part of a package holiday. I have linked both options here:

View TUI Love Holidays Hotel Only

9. Maravilla Luxury Living, Kos Town

If a villa in Kos is more your style, look no further than Maravilla Luxury living. Located in Psalidi near Kos Town, Maravilla Luxury Living offers accommodation with an infinity pool, free onsite parking and a gym. Guests can also make use of the free shuttle service and free onsite WIFI.

The villas at the complex are very well equipped and come with air conditioning, a TV with Netflix, barbecue, bathrobes and slippers. The villa also boasts a sauna, a hot tub and onsite yoga classes. The area is super popular for cycling and hiking, so bike hire and car hire are available at the property.

View Villa

10. TUI BLUE Palazzo Del Mare, Marmari

This adult only 5 star hotel in Kos is located in the quiet village of Marmari on the south eastern side of the island. The hotel offers a number of swimming pools and a private beach, along with swim up rooms and rooms with private pools.

Breakfast and evening meals are included in the cost, including one visit the à la carte restaurant during your stay. This is a great choice for a relaxing getaway, and if you prefer a change of scene, Kos town is only a 15 minute drive away.

View TUI

Best places to eat in Kos – My personal favourite food and drink spots!

Lofaki Restaurant– Located on a hilltop with stunning views of the whole island and Bodrum, this restaurant is the perfect spot for a special occasion. The food is a perfect mix of Greek favourites as well as delicious steaks.

Greek salad

Ambrosia Restaurant Old Town – This is one of the best restaurants in Kos Town and was my personal favourite. Located in the old town square, it was the perfect place to people watch and take in the stunning Old Town views. The menu has something to suit everyone and the service was superb. Top Tip – ask for a balcony table.

Plaza Beach Kos Town – Voted the thrid best restaurant in Kos town on TripAdvisor I knew I had to visit. It is located right on the beach and has the friendliest staff – I ate here twice it was that good. This is a traditional family run Greek taverna with amazing local food, and a must visit in Kos.

Twin Dragon Chinese – Fancy a change from Greek or Mediterranean food? This Chinese restaurant is great. It has all the usual Chinese takeaway favourites, and make sure you ask for a table on the beach.

Sitar Cocktail Bar– This is a cool cocktail bar in the centre of Kos town. It is perfect for a night out with live DJs each night.

C Food & Mood – This the perfect spot for brunch in Kos, or if you like sushi, you’ll enjoy eating here. Its located right on the beach near Kos town and has a stunning modern setting.

Best time to visit Kos

the best time to visit Kos is from May to September if you want to have warm weather.

The best time to visit Kos if you want good weather is from May to September, but because of its location on the Aegean Sea you can be lucky and get sunny blue skies in April and October too. July and August are traditionally the hottest months where the average temperature is 35 degrees celsius.

I hope my Kos travel guide will help you find the best things to do in Kos Greece and let you plan the perfect holiday to this beautiful island.

Kaitlin

While every effort is made to ensure accuracy, accommodation, tours and attractions are subject to change. This post contains affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made, but at no additional cost to you.

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